While I understand the basic intent of the moderators, I'm not at all certain that the result is necessary or effective.
Jeff wrote, " Also the images are usually posted with out any links to the source so no credit or path to learn more on the site it was on." Google Image Search provides a simple solution to this. In fact, it will generally provide a path to the true original source of the image, for those seeking info about it.
Martijn writes, " please just provide links to the original web page the image or video is on in order to give credit to the creator." However, in practice, folks will simply provide a link to where they found the image and, given the nature of the web, there's a very good chance that won't be the "original" page it was posted on.
My own perception is that most images are copyrighted so that they will not be used in any sort of commercial manner, including advertising or any sort of promotion. Jeff also wrote, "and it's not under educational use here", but I suspect many/most of us would disagree with that. Admittedly it isn't traditional classroom education, but online education has an ever-increasing share of the market. Virtually every image posted here is done so with the intent to inform, if not strictly educate.
In the US, the "fair use doctrine does not clearly define fair use, but instead gives four non-exclusive factors to consider in a fair use analysis. Those factors are:
- the purpose and character of one's use
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- what amount and proportion of the whole work was taken, and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."
I think we can agree that the images posted here have virtually - if not absolutely - any impact on their "potential market". As for Europe:
"The copyright directive allows EU member states to implement a set of exceptions to copyright. Examples of those exceptions are:
- for demonstration or repair of equipment,
- for non-commercial research or private study"
It could be argued that most of the posting of images of product instruction / assembly sheets fits under the first category, and most other images are covered under the second.
There have been comments that the fair use laws/policies vary around the world. That may be, but to me the central issue is that we are not making any commercial use of the images.
Like Kato, and I suspect many of us, I am a very visual person. He said, " I don't use the forum to click links upon links or text only. I visually see with my eyes, then start clicking if what I see interest me." As splifdfx added, "Forcing people to click on links to view pictures is a pain in the ass and demotivational." I don't think this policy will cause the death of the forum, but it will probably greatly diminish contributions, visits, and certainly the functionality/interest/benefit of it.
I would say that a goodly portion of the images I have posted were captured for my own use and not intended to be used here. I will generally just save images, and not even go to the page it came from. I would see it as a major imposition to need to capture a link for every photo that I save, largely as it seems cumbersome. I'm not about to bookmark every site that I copy an image from, and even then I would need some system to connect the photo back to that link. I'm unwilling to create some text document just to link the two together.
Two of the moderators seem to have strong ethical concerns about posting the images of others here, even if a link is provided. To me one of the most alarming aspects of this is that it is being policed not of the basis of something being copyrighted, but on the mere possibility that it could be! And here I thought the Inquisition ended over half a millennium ago.
Much of this is being done on the basis that the person who took the photo or created the graphic would object to how it is being used here, and I just don't see the case for that position. The manufactures want their promotional material to be seen by the most people possible - that's why they create it in the first place! Railfan photographers are generally likewise happy to have people see their work - that's why they post it online in the first place. Those who want it to always be known whose image it is will include their name on it.
Specific offending cases have been mentioned, such as copying entire articles from magazines, etc. I think something like that could be more suitably handled in a PM, as not everyone will be interested in seeing it anyway. I think it would make much more sense to try to come up with a specific, commonly-agreed upon set of situations that shouldn't be allowed, instead of this repressive blanket policy. As has been stated above, this is contrary to the very nature of the net, and possibly unique among all forums.
Ethical concerns aside, this seems absurdly premature and CYA in nature. As has been noted, sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr solely exist to recycle other people's images, with no apparent problems. It seems highly unlikely that JNS would be in a position that Amazon feels compelled to take the site down. It's not like the moderators are going to be jailed for an offensive photograph. I suspect the majority of us would be happy to risk the site possibly not being available for 24 hours to end this needless foolishness.